New scam targets MLGW customers, utility warns

SHELBY CO., Tenn. — A new scam is targeting Memphis Light, Gas and Water customers.

The utility says scammers are spoofing the company’s phone number and demanding customers pay up or have their utility service disconnected.

MLGW told FOX13 several people report getting the bogus calls and this isn’t the first time scammers have tried this.

Brian Donnaud said he didn’t get the call just once. “I received at least two or three other voicemails from them,” he said.

MLGW said the scammers pretend to work for the utility, ask for payment, and threaten to cut off services if the customer doesn’t pay up.

According to MLGW, the person leaves a toll-free 1-800 call back number, hoping the customer will return the call.

"I opened up a new shop here recently on Summer Ave. We were wondering if maybe the 
payment didn't go through," Donnaud said.

The scammers ask customers to buy a pre-paid debit card for payment. But Donnaud told FOX13 he never got that far because he noticed several red flags.

“I called back to make sure that it wasn't a mistake, “ he said. “I could kind of tell that the person on the phone had broken English and the phone line was not crystal clear. You could hear other people talking in the background, rehearsing the same script -- that it was a scam, and they wanted us to send money that day to avoid a disconnection.”

MLGW wants customers to know it will never call and ask for payments over the phone. It mails out cut-off notices to customers about overdue payments. The utility company advises customers to hang up and call MLGW for billing questions if the get one of these phone calls.

That’s exactly what Donnaud did and wanted to warn others because it’s easy to victim to the scam.

“If you are someone who is rushing around like we all do daily, and you hear your electric is going to be cut off because it is winter time and especially because you have children, then it becomes an issue,” he said.

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